Managing people who are more creative, smarter or just better than you.
If you are or want to be a creative director, executive creative director, chief creative officer or, god forbid, the CEO of an ad agency, you’re going to run up against a sticky problem. The people. They’re not normal. For the most part, they’re smart and willful and challenging and not particularly interested in being managed. Chances are–even if you went to business school–no one ever taught you how to deal with creative and/or extraordinarily bright people. But if you want to be a leader in this industry, you’d better learn, because these rather difficult people are your company’s only real asset, and having assets that get in their cars every night and drive home is a precarious business model.
Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones wrote a piece in the Harvard Business Review called “Leading Clever People.” By itself it won’t make you an able leader of your agency’s mad band of wits and malcontents, but it’s a pretty good place to start. And if you’re merely a spear-carrier in an agency that doesn’t know how to manage its clever people, you may wish to print out a copy and slide it under your boss’s door.